Guilt-Free Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles Pasta

My favorite way to cook zucchini noodles! See how to make our 20-minute zucchini noodles pasta recipe with garlic, tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese. Low-carb, keto-adaptable, and vegetarian-adaptable!

Watch the Video

Zucchini Noodles Recipe Video

Related: These easy, cheesy baked zucchini chips are perfect to serve with dinner or just as an afternoon snack.

How to Make Zucchini Pasta in 20 Minutes!

We are in love with this easy zoodles recipe. There’s fresh zucchini, tomatoes, basil, parmesan, and garlic. The best part? It only takes 20 minutes to make. It’s also low on calories and carbs while having maximum flavor! Enjoy these as a light meal, or add some protein like baked tofu, sautéed shrimp, or juicy chicken.

Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles Pasta

This recipe quick and easy. It’s adaptable, too. We love it when made with 100% zucchini noodles (basically, spaghetti made from zucchini), but you can always combine zucchini noodles and regular spaghetti for a little more sticking power.

This zucchini pasta recipe is all about fresh ingredients. The zucchini should be firm and the tomatoes sweet. If you have a hard time finding good, flavorful tomatoes, it is better to use canned. We love canned San Marzano tomatoes and the options from Muir Glen.

Zucchini noodles, basil and tomatoes

How to Make Zucchini Noodles With and Without a Spiralizer

Zucchini noodles are spaghetti-like strands of zucchini. You can make them in a variety of ways. Here’s how to make them:

The easiest way to make zucchini noodles is to use a spiralizer. They make long, curly noodles in minutes. A spiralizer is a great tool to add to your kitchen. We purchased ours on Amazon for less than $30. There are a variety of brands and price points to choose from, and you may even find that some food processors come with a spiralizer attachment now, too.

No spiralizer, no problem! You can also use a julienne vegetable peeler. These come in at under $10 and might even be hiding in your kitchen gadget drawer right now.

Most mandoline slicers will make noodles or try using a standard vegetable peeler and make wide noodles.

Depending on where you shop, you might even find that you can buy previously spiralized zucchini. I’ve seen prepared zoodles sold in Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and even some Safeway stores.

Once you’ve got noodles, you’re ready to cook them. (Or don’t, and try our zucchini noodle salad!)

Cooked Zucchini Noodles

Our Best Tips for Cooking Zoodles So That They Are Delicious and Not Soggy

Zucchini is mostly water, so cooking it can be tricky. Here are our tips for cooking it so that it’s not soggy.

  1. Don’t peel zucchini. Peeled zucchini noodles are mushy and have no crunch.
  2. Don’t salt zucchini before cooking or while it cooks in the pan. Salt draws out water from the zucchini, making it less crunchy when cooked. Since salt makes things taste good, we prefer to salt the sauce and not the zucchini.
  3. Don’t overcook. Just like when making regular spaghetti, cook zucchini noodles to al dente. They are ready when wilted but still have a crunch.

Since cooked zucchini tends to become watery, we do our best in the recipe to reduce this as much as possible. However, you will still find some water left at the bottom of the serving bowl. Not that this is a bad thing. The liquid mixes with tomato, garlic, cheese, and olive oil, so it’s delicious.

More Veggie Recipes

20 Minute Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles

Guilt-Free Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Noodles Pasta

  • PREP
  • COOK

We are in love with this easy zucchini noodles recipe. There’s fresh zucchini, tomatoes, basil, parmesan, and garlic. Plus, it only takes 20 minutes to make. Make this with 100% zucchini noodles, or swap half of the zucchini for regular spaghetti for a heartier meal.

For a vegetarian option, omit the parmesan cheese, substitute it with your favorite vegetarian-friendly cheese, or use nutritional yeast.

Makes 4 Servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

4 medium zucchini (about 2 pounds)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 to 4 cloves)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like the pasta

2 medium tomatoes, chopped, see note (about 12 ounces)

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for serving, see notes for alternatives

1 cup basil leaves, torn into pieces

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons cold water

Salt, to taste


  • Prepare Zucchini Noodles
  • 1Trim and spiralize the zucchini (see notes below for doing this without a spiralizer). Then cut the spiralized zucchini into long noodles to be about the length of spaghetti.

    2Add olive oil, garlic, and the red pepper flakes to a large, deep skillet. Turn to medium heat. When the oil bubbles around the garlic, add the zucchini noodles.

    3Toss the noodles with pasta tongs and cook until al dente — they should be wilted but still have a crunch; 5 to 7 minutes. Do not let the noodles cook any longer, or else they will become mushy. As they cook, keep tossing so that all the zucchini noodles have a chance to hit the bottom of the skillet.

    4Stir in the tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese, and then cook for one minute. Use pasta tongs to transfer the noodles, tomatoes, and basil to a serving dish. Leave the liquid in the skillet.

  • To Finish
  • 1Bring the liquid left in the skillet to a simmer.

    2Combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl, then whisk into the simmering liquid. Cook while whisking until the liquid thickens to a sauce; about 1 minute. Taste the sauce and season with salt.

    3Pour the sauce over the zucchini, tomatoes, and basil. Finish with more parmesan cheese on top and serve immediately.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Making Zucchini Noodles Without a Spiralizer: The spiralizer is not the only way to make noodles. You can use a julienne vegetable peeler or a mandoline. You can also use a standard vegetable peeler to make wide noodles or ribbons.
  • Tomatoes: Other varieties of tomatoes work (like cherry tomatoes), you need 12 ounces. Canned tomatoes also work, you may want to hold back some of the liquid in the can.
  • Extra liquid in the pan: Don’t be surprised if liquid collects at the bottom of the serving dish. It mixes with tomato, garlic, cheese, and olive oil, so it’s delicious.
  • Vegetarian option: Parmesan cheese may contain animal rennet, so it’s crucial to check labels before use. Fortunately, several American brands offer vegetarian Parmesan cheese alternatives or use nutritional yeast. When using nutritional yeast, add to your tastes. I’d start with two tablespoons and increase from there.
  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We assumed 1/2 teaspoon salt.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/4 of the recipe / Calories 197 / Protein 10.7 g / Carbohydrate 11.2 g / Dietary Fiber 3.4 g / Total Sugars 1.7 g / Total Fat 14.3 g / Saturated Fat 3.4 g / Cholesterol 7.2 mg / Sodium 471.4 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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246 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Melissa September 22, 2023, 4:21 pm

    OMG! I pretty much followed the exact recipe except adding the cornstarch. I used heirloom tomatoes and the jarred parmesan (all I had). It was mouthwatering-ly delicious. THANK YOU!

    • Adam September 23, 2023, 12:45 am

      Yum! So glad you loved them 🙂

  • Barbara Taylor September 15, 2023, 6:57 pm

    Great recipe and so easy to make. Fits my diabetic needs and will be easy to add different meats. Thanks!!

  • Cookie July 15, 2023, 5:54 pm

    I found this while looking for a recipe for spiralized zucchini. It is simple and delicious. I have made it twice in the last week. Thank you.

  • Sue June 25, 2023, 2:01 pm

    Thank you for the recipe. I used the wok so there was no liquid to thicken afterwords. My tomato pieces were bigger also. I added some shrimp to the same pan following about one to two minutes the zucchini. This is a keeper.

  • Bobbi June 1, 2023, 2:24 pm

    Super easy to make and so delicious!!

  • Evie Grace Murphy April 29, 2023, 4:13 am

    Absolutely delicious but only served three. Bought my zoodles in a packet from Coles

  • Margarita April 27, 2023, 12:51 am

    Forgot to take photo it was delicious everyone loved it was not enough

  • Joan March 8, 2023, 1:32 pm

    Anxious to try out your recipes. I just stumbled on you website.


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